Fabiola Arredondo, the high profile European chief executive of Yahoo! yesterday quit her job unexpectedly amid a veil of silence.

Spanish-born American national Arredondo joined Yahoo! in autumn 1997 from BBC Worldwide where she was distribution director. She is credited with the portal's rapid European expansion and move into profitability. Fortune magazine last year named her the second-most powerful woman executive in Europe, after Pearson’s Marjorie Scardino.

London-based Arredondo was not granting interviews yesterday, while a stunned Yahoo! would say only that she had resigned “to pursue private business interests”. Arredondo had signalled her intention to leave at the end of December, said a spoke, who declined to say precisely where her boss was going or what she would be doing: “She is going off to do her own thing.”

Said analyst John Segrich at Goldman Sachs London: “She had just delivered pretty strong results and business seemed to be pretty good. She had a very good handle on the European operations.” Concurred a competitor: “She has been doing terrifically well. I am absolutely intrigued.”

However, Arredondo’s departure is not immediate. She will remain at Yahoo! for a couple of months to help select her successor and assist in the transition.

News source: The Times (London)